How this artist makes $10,000 a month hand-making hair accessories

Some businesses struggle to scale, but not XXL and Co. 

Former full-time mural artist Tina Nguyen's giant scrunchie set the tone for her whole business model—go big and go home. The 29-year-old has grown her business selling big hair scrunchies into a fast-growing Canadian hair accessory empire.

What she sells: Nguyen manufactures handmade hair scrunchies and other accessories to manage your mane. Her first product (and the star of the show) is the XXL scrunchie.

How she got started: The journey to giant scrunchie success started as a novelty gift for her hair stylist cousin in 2019.

  • "She owned a hair salon and had clients she could sell it to. So, she convinced me to do it—at first, I said no!"

What she spent: $200

  • "The cost was just for fabric, elastic and shipping supplies."

  • "I have a graphic design and marketing background, so staying on top of socials and branding across those platforms myself saved a lot of money when I started."

What she earns: $10,000 a month

Her advantage: Within weeks of launching the company, Nguyen knew she'd need more than two hands to keep up with demand—good thing her parents were on board to help her fulfill orders. 

  • "Everything is handmade, and I was sacrificing sleep to keep up with the orders. So I rented a car, packed up my 400 square foot apartment in Toronto and set up shop in my parent's basement in Belleville."

  • Even with her dad handling deliveries and her mom helping her cut and sew, demand continued to surpass what the Nguyen family could produce in their basement. So XXL and Co. moved into a 4,000-square-foot warehouse and hired a team of fabric cutters, seamstresses and "elasticizers."

Another advantage: Nguyen is adamant that production stays local. She believes it's the only way to continue producing the high quality her customers have come to know and love.

  • "It's all handmade, and that's the main point of our business. I want to keep it all in-house because it provides control—we can change the sizes and alter how we cut fabrics. I want to make sure everything is done properly." 

  • "I have a remote seamstress and fabric cutter, and we also have a team on-site."

Her biggest challenge: Learning to be a business owner and letting go of her lone-wolf ways.

  • "I would list things for people to do, but I wouldn't explain the process to them. Now, I schedule individual meetings with people to lay out and discuss the plan for the week and take time to chat about life as well. I have confidence in my team's skills—I can rely on them."

What's next: Nguyen wants to continue growing the XXL line of hair products—they now offer claw clips, a range of scrunchie sizes and combs. She also has plans to incorporate her artwork into a line of bed linens, pillowcases and blankets.

  • "I was a mural artist before. I want to keep incorporating my artwork into products outside of scrunchies."

Her advice:Just start—you learn so much on the way that you could never prepare for. And get an accountant early on for financial advice!”